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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright
Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright
Ici d'Ailleurs

On her last longplayer, last year's Over the Sun, American songsmith Shannon Wright captured her artistry with perfect tonality, like so much lightning in a bottle; Wright and engineer Steve Albini (of course) found the mythical "right tone" for Wright's husky wails and vicious delivery. Presiding over a set of minor-key love-gone-wrong rock songs belted out as a mordant racket, Wright commanded a disc whose songs seemed like a suite built entirely around her commanding singing. Her singing never seemed more vivid than when she let out a caustic, cauterized "Plea" — all open wounds seeking closure — near the disc's close. Four albums into her itinerant-songsmith discography, it felt like Wright had finally found her musical calling — only to be called over the ocean and into the collaborative arms of Frenchman Yann Tiersen.

Tiersen, who makes solo songsmith discs (where he does things like duet with Natasha Regnier) as well as his famous film music (see "Amélie," "Goodbye Lenin!" etc.), has clearly been listening, paying attention to Wright's sense of directness and lack of pretense. His contributions to this wholly collaborative endeavor are beyond sympathetic. He plays a symphonic array of instruments in a fashion that amplifies the intensity of Wright's delivery, matching her vivid voice, staccato guitars, and cymbal-splashing drumming with looming piano chords, screeches of violin, choruses of cellos, rumbles of bass, and painterly tuned percussion. The co-billed and self-titled set may lack the intense sensibility and tonal clarity of her last longplayer, but Tiersen provides a warm and nurturing counter to Albini's standoffish observer, his encouraged embrace (and the album's slight depersonalization through the nature of collaboration) meaning, this time around, that Wright is less the woman scorned, the hellish fury of her furious phrasing reined in a little as she eases her vocalizing (and vocal persona) back into the embracing arrangements arranged around her.

On "Ways to Make You See," particularly, her passionate piano playing almost seems more Wright's right-minded focus, ringing out loud as Wright fades back into the huskiness of her throat, letting her typically laid-out lyrics — "Do you touch her/ Like you touch me?/ Do you corrode her/ Like you corrode me?" — rescind into the singing ringing of the sostenuto'd notes. The approach, here and across the board, seems more whole-bodied, as opposed to her outer-body intensity last time around.

by Anthony Carew

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